Chants Power Past Dukes 16-3 in Sun Belt Conference Opener
HARRISONBURG, Va. – For the 10th time this season, Coastal Carolina baseball’s offense exploded for double-digit runs as the Chanticleers welcomed James Madison to the Sun Belt Conference with a 16-3 road win at JMU in the two teams’ conference opener on Friday afternoon in Harrisonburg, Va.
With the win, the Chanticleers improved to 11-5 overall and 1-0 in conference play on the season, while the loss dropped the Dukes to 11-8 overall and 0-1 in league action.
The Chanticleers erased an early 3-0 deficit by scoring 16 unanswered runs from the third inning on to run away with the conference road win.
Coastal again did most of its damage with two outs, as the Chants hit .533 (8-for-15) with two outs in the inning and drove in 11 two-out RBIs. The Chants also hit .478 (11-for-23) with runners on base and .556 (10-for-19) with runners in scoring position.
A total of 10 different Chants had a hit in the contest on Friday afternoon, led by a three-hit game from Nick Lucky (3-for-4, HR, BB, HBP, 5 RBIs, 3 runs, SB), which included a home run and five RBIs, while off the bench, Kameron Guangorena (1-for-1, HR, 3 RBIs, run) had a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning.
CCU’s Derek Bender (2-for-6, RBI, 2 runs) extended his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games, Caden Bodine (2-for-4, 2 2B, BB, 3 runs) finished with two doubles, while Graham Brown (2-for-3, BB, HBP, 2 RBIs, run) and Zack Beach (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) both had two hits and drove in multiple RBIs in the win.
James Madison had three runs on six hits, led by infielder Mike Mancini (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, run) with the lone extra-base hit on the day for the home-standing Dukes, while the other two RBIs came by way of lead-off hitter Jack Cone (1-for-2, BB, 2 RBIs, CS).
Picking up the win on the mound for the Chants was freshman Jacob Morrison (2-0), as the righty registered his second win of the season and his second quality start on the year. The first-year Chant gave up three runs on five hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over a career-high 7.0-complete innings.
Reliever Bryce Shaffer did his job out of the bullpen, as the lefty followed Morrison with 2.0-scoreless innings, allowing just two base runners on one hit, one walk, and two strikeouts.
The loss fell to JMU’s starter Todd Mozoki (0-2), as the right-hander gave up eight runs, one of which was earned, on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
The Dukes were hampered by five errors in the loss.
JMU struck first in the bottom of the second inning, as the Dukes picked up an RBI single from Mancini and then a two-run base hit from Cone to put the home team in front at 3-0 after two innings played.
The lead did not last for long, as the Chants notched another big inning, their 14th of the season, with a six-run third inning to storm in front at 6-3.
Bender got the scoring going with a two-out RBI single to center field to plate the first run of the inning. After a JMU error, Lucky laced a single into center field to drive in two more runs and tie the game up at 3-3.
Two batters late, Beach ripped a single to center field to plate two more runs, again with two outs, to push the visitors in front by two at 5-3.
CCU wasn’t done yet, as Ty Dooley then singled to third base for an RBI to cap the six-run frame and put the Chants on top 6-3.
Coastal struck again in the top of the fourth inning, this time scoring two runs on an RBI ground out from Blake Barthol and another RBI base hit by Lucky, this one off the glove of the leaping shortstop and into left field, to extend the lead to 8-3 midway through the fourth inning.
That was more than enough for Morrison, as the freshman pitched around a single in both the third and fourth innings with the help of his catcher Bodine throwing out a would-be base stealer in each frame to keep the Dukes out of scoring position.
Morrison then sent the Dukes down in order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, while the offense tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh on back-to-back singles from Brown and Beach, with the latter scoring a run to push the lead to 9-3.
The Chants added two more runs in the top of the eighth on a two-out, two-run single to left field by Brown and exploded for another big inning with five runs in the top of the ninth on a three-run pinch-hit home run from Guangorena and a two-run opposite-field home run by Lucky to put the final score at 16-3.
Coastal and James Madison will play game two of the three-game conference series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.
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